When the labor market is tight, New Hampshire employers face pressure to quickly recruit and hire employees.
While it is important to fill open positions, employers must conduct through New Hampshire background checks to ensure the people they hire are qualified and do not have anything disqualifying in their backgrounds.
Did you know that a Nashua woman was charged with multiple felony offenses after reportedly stealing thousands of dollars from her employer to allegedly support a drug habit?
An employment background check in New Hampshire can allow you to confirm the claims made by applicants about their past employment and education and also allow you to see whether they have disqualifying criminal convictions. This can help to reduce liability risks and ensure your company continues to operate safely and smoothly.
Based on our experience conducting background checks for employers in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth, and more, we have written this comprehensive guide for you to use as a resource when you conduct background checks in New Hampshire.
Let’s start now.
4 Important Reasons Employers in NH Conduct Background Checks
There are multiple reasons why New Hampshire employers conduct employment background checks. A few of the most common reasons are listed below.
1. General Screening for Entry-Level Positions
Most New Hampshire employers understand that pre-employment background checks play a crucial role in hiring. By conducting pre-employment screens for entry-level jobs, employers can verify the claims made by their applicants on their applications and resumes and ensure that they do not have any disqualifying convictions in their past.
2. Screening for Supervisory Positions
Since people who hold supervisory or management jobs have a greater degree of responsibility than other employees, most New Hampshire employers conduct detailed background checks on applicants for these types of positions.
3. Employment Screens at Regular Intervals
Some industries require companies to conduct regular employment screens on existing employees, including the transportation industry. Ongoing screens are meant to help employers identify disqualifying problems that might arise after people have been hired.
4. Pre-Employment Checks for Positions in the Caring Professions
In addition to ongoing screens for existing employees, people who apply for jobs or volunteer positions in the caring professions are required to undergo extensive background checks.
This is because they work with vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, the elderly, and children, who must be protected.
New Hampshire Employment Background Check Laws 2022
When you conduct an employment background check in New Hampshire, you must comply with the laws and regulations that govern the process. If you fail to do so, you could be exposed to legal liability, penalties, and fines.
The relevant federal and state laws are discussed below.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. This law protects the privacy of consumer information that is gathered, held, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and used by employers on background checks.
Before an employer can conduct a pre-employment background check, it must first notify the applicant in writing. Employers must also get their applicants’ written, signed permission before the background checks can be completed.
If a background check report reveals negative information, the employer must go through the adverse action process before making a final decision not to hire the applicant based on the information revealed in a background check report.
At iprospectcheck, we always conduct FCRA-compliant background checks and can help you to understand your requirements during the hiring process.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This landmark law prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on the protected characteristics of applicants and employees.
Title VII applies to employment background checks when a report reveals criminal history information. Under EEOC guidance, employers should individually assess criminal records on background check reports as they directly relate to the duties of the jobs for which they are hiring.
New Hampshire State Laws on Employment Background Checks
New Hampshire employers must also follow state laws that govern background checks for employment.
Obsolete Criminal Information
Under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 359-B:5, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) cannot report information about an applicant’s arrests, convictions, or indictments when their dispositions occurred more than seven years before the date of the employment background check.
This law does have a salary cap exception of $20,000, however. Employers who are hiring for positions paying more than $20,000 per year can receive conviction information about applications on their background checks that are seven or more years old.
However, under the FCRA, they still cannot get information about arrests that did not result in convictions that are older than seven years.
Use of a Conviction for a Non-Annulled Crime
Under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 651:5(x)(c), people who have been convicted of certain crimes may petition the court to have their convictions annulled.
CRAs cannot report information about annulled convictions, and employers cannot inquire about them. Instead, employers can only ask whether applicants have ever been arrested or convicted of a non-annulled crime.
New Hampshire Ban-the-Box Law for Public Employers
In 2020, the New Hampshire legislature passed House Bill 253, which was subsequently signed into law. This law prohibits public sector employers from asking applicants about criminal history information in the early stages of the application process.
They cannot ask about criminal history information until after an applicant has had the opportunity to interview for the position.
What Shows up on a Background Check for Employment in New Hampshire?
What a background check for employment in New Hampshire might reveal will depend on which reports you request. Most employers in New Hampshire ask for information about their applicants’ criminal history, past employment, educational attainment, and credentials.
Applicants for positions in which driving is required will likely also undergo checks of their driving records. Many employers also ask for pre-employment drug tests of their candidates.
A pre-employment background check may include the following information:
- Non-annulled felony and misdemeanor convictions
- Pending criminal cases
- Arrests resulting in convictions from the past seven years
- Employment history
- Address history
- Education history
- Appearance on the sex offender registry
- Appearance on the Domestic Terrorist Watch List
Let’s take a look at what might appear on some of these different reports.
A criminal background check for employment will show the following types of information for people who have non-annulled convictions:
- Offense date
- Offense type
- Offense severity (misdemeanor or felony)
- Disposition date
Under New Hampshire law, convictions older than seven years cannot be reported for positions paying $20,000 or less but may be reported for jobs paying more. Annulled convictions and arrests cannot be reported.
Many employers ask for education verification reports because they allow them to confirm the educational attainment levels claimed by applicants.
The following information appears on an education verification report:
- Names and locations of all educational institutions attended
- Dates of attendance at each institution
- Degrees, diplomas. or certificates conferred
Employment verification reports help employers verify the claims applicants have made about their past employment and ensure that they are honest and have the necessary experience.
This type of report will reveal the following information:
- Name/location of all past employers
- Dates of employment at each former employer
- Positions/titles held at each former company
How Far Back Does a Background Check go in New Hampshire?
How far back a New Hampshire background check can go is controlled by the FCRA and New Hampshire’s state laws. Under the FCRA, there is a seven-year lookback period for jobs that pay less than $75,000 per year for the following types of background information:
- Arrests that did not lead to convictions
- Civil judgments
- Civil lawsuits
These types of information will not be reported when they are seven or more years old. However, if a position pays more than $75,000 per year, the FCRA’s restrictions do not apply. Convictions can also be reported under the FCRA no matter when they occurred.
New Hampshire’s annulment law allows people who have been convicted of certain offenses to petition for them to be annulled. Any annulled convictions will not be reported and cannot be inquired about.
Background checks for positions paying $20,000 or less in New Hampshire will not include convictions older than seven years. However, positions paying more than $20,000 per year are not restricted by this law, and reports will include conviction information regardless of age.
Information about an individual’s past employment, education, and credentials is not restricted by the FCRA or state law and can be reported regardless of age.
How do I get a Background Check in NH?
In New Hampshire, you can get criminal history background reports by going in person to the New Hampshire State Police’s public counter in Concord. They can also mail an application to receive criminal history reports. Applicants can sign an authorization for an employer to get criminal history information by filling out the authorization form located here.
Requesting criminal history information from the New Hampshire State Police will not provide enough information for a comprehensive employment background check.
It will only give you information about an applicant’s criminal record within the state and will not return information from other jurisdictions.
A state criminal records check also will not reveal critical information about an applicant’s employment or education.
Some employers try a do-it-yourself approach to background checks. However, this can take weeks and might reveal information that is inaccurate or does not comply with the FCRA.
The best way to conduct pre-employment background checks in New Hampshire is to work with a reliable background check provider like iprospectcheck.
We conduct accurate, thorough, current, and fully compliant employment background screens for employers across the state.
As a NH Employer, How Can I Stay Compliant?
Remaining compliant with state and federal laws when conducting background checks for employment in New Hampshire is critical. If you fail to adhere to the laws and regulations, you could be fined and penalized and might be sued by applicants.
Follow these tips to remain compliant.
1. Wait to Ask About Criminal History Information.
While New Hampshire’s ban-the-box law only applies to public employers, more states are moving to adopt bans on asking about criminal history information during the early application phases.
It is a good idea to remove questions about criminal history from your applications and wait to ask about this type of information until later. When you do ask, only ask an applicant if he or she has any non-annulled convictions.
2. Individually Assess Convictions as They Relate to the Job.
If a background check report reveals that an applicant has a criminal record, individually assess the conviction(s) as it relates to the position for which he or she is being considered.
Do not decide against hiring an applicant based on a criminal history report without conducting an individual assessment.
3. Provide a Pre-Adverse Action Notice.
If you want to decline an applicant based on a criminal conviction revealed on a background check report, you must send a pre-adverse action notice to him or her.
In the notice, you must identify the disqualifying conviction, give a copy of the criminal history report to the applicant, and give him or her a deadline for clarifying the information.
Clarifying information might include evidence of rehabilitation or that the conviction record is inaccurate.
4. Send a Final Adverse Action Notice
If, after going through the adverse action process, you still decide against hiring an applicant, you are required to send a final adverse action notice.
You should provide the name and contact information of the CRA that conducted the background check and a statement that the CRA did not make the hiring decision.
You then need to inform the applicant of his or her rights under both the FCRA and New Hampshire state law.
How Often Should I Run a Background Check in NH?
How often you should conduct employment background checks depends on your industry. You need to approach all employees working in the same types of positions with the same type of background screening process.
Some industries require ongoing checks for existing employees because of the nature of the work they perform.
For example, trucking companies are required to conduct DOT-compliant screens on a regular basis and to check the driving records of their drivers at least yearly under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
Manufacturers frequently conduct regular drug screens of existing employees to reduce potential liability and accidents. Finally, many companies providing services to vulnerable populations also require ongoing screens at regular intervals to ensure their clients or patients remain safe.
What Disqualifies You from a Background Check in New Hampshire?
Multiple things can disqualify applicants for jobs on pre-employment background checks in New Hampshire. A few of the most common reasons why an applicant might be denied employment are listed below.
Certain Criminal Convictions
Not all criminal convictions will disqualify an applicant. However, if an applicant has a criminal record that directly relates to the position for which he or she has applied, an employer can decide against hiring him or her based on that information.
Lies About Past Employment
Some applicants lie about holding past jobs or their dates of employment. People might lie about their past employment to try to conceal gaps in employment or to claim more experience than they have.
When an employer asks for employment verification on a pre-employment screening, an applicant who has lied will quickly be denied employment.
Lies About Education
Like past employment, another area in which candidates tend to lie on their resumes is their educational history. Lies about education can quickly result in a denial.
Bad Driving Record
An employer that hires people for positions that require driving will likely turn down applicants who have problematic driving records. This is because of potential liability and insurability issues.
Failed Drug Tests
Many New Hampshire employers conduct pre-employment drug screens as a condition of employment. If an applicant fails a drug test, the employer can deny employment.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in New Hampshire?
If you order a criminal history report from the New Hampshire State Police, you will have to submit a check for $25 per report. However, this type of report will not reveal other critical information needed for hiring decisions.
You might find vendors online that promise free New Hampshire background checks. You should steer clear of these providers. Most return unreliable, inaccurate information that fails to comply with the FCRA and other relevant laws. Using these types of vendors could open you up to lawsuits.
The best approach is to work with a third-party provider like iprospectcheck. We fully comply with all relevant laws and have extensive access to reliable, up-to-date databases. This allows us to quickly return reliable information to our clients.
You can also choose only the types of reports you need so you won’t have to pay for unnecessary information.
We have a broad variety of different types of background check reports from which you can choose. If you will need 50 or more reports each year, you can take advantage of our volume discounts. Contact us today for a no-obligation, free quote.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in New Hampshire?
How long it will take for a pre-employment background check report to come back will depend on the approach you take. If you try to gather the information yourself, it could take weeks.
Most employers need to make fast hiring decisions and cannot afford delays on background checks. This is another reason why you should partner with iprospectcheck. Our advanced research methods and extensive resources allow us to return background check reports to our clients in as little as a few hours.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant New Hampshire Background Checks
New Hampshire employment background checks should be an integral part of every employer’s hiring process. Conducting comprehensive, legally compliant background checks can help you minimize your risks of liability and protect your customers and employees.
At iprospectcheck, we have the training, research skills, and resources to conduct current, accurate, and FCRA-compliant background checks quickly for our New Hampshire clients.
Contact iprospectcheck today to learn more about how we can help you with your employment background checks and to receive a free, no-obligation quote.
DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.